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Hall & Oates Nashville 2017

Nathan Armstrong

NASHVILLE, TN -- At 1:30 on Wednesday afternoon, I was sitting in Swanky’s scrolling through Instagram when I saw someone post about a Hall and Oates show that was apparently happening in Nashville in just a few short hours. Startled that I had missed the announcement of this show somehow, I said out loud “oh there is absolutely no way that I’m missing this.”

An hour later, I was headed to Nashville with an “Out Of Touch” dub step remix (weird but cool) playing in my car. You don’t pass up an opportunity to see Hall & Oates…you just don’t. After jamming to the essential Hall & Oates the whole way there, I snagged my friend from her apartment and we made it to the Bridgestone Arena in Downtown Nashville just in time to catch to last few songs from the opener Tears for Fears, who were great. 

Daryl Hall and John Oates walked on stage with the comfort and confidence that could only come from an iconic, rock duo from the 70’s. Announcing that they would be playing songs for every generation, they opened with “Family Man” and “Maneater,” before moving in to the crowd pleaser “Out Of Touch” and then a cover of the classic “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by The Righteous Brothers. 

About mid-show, Hall sat himself down at a beautiful grand piano and played around on it, at first playing an unrecognizable bunch of chords that I imagined were the ones he sits down anywhere and plays from memory. Then Oates came in on the guitar with the opening, soulful riff of “Sara Smile” and I cut my friend off mid sentence and felt actual tears swelling in my eyes. Grand pianos make me emotional. One of my favorite songs in the world filled the arena and Hall and Oates performed it beautifully and creatively, singing and playing it however they felt like it in that moment.

An almost ten-minute version of “I Can’t Go For That” followed and was definitely a close favorite, as I felt like I was watching a casual but legendary jam session unfold on stage. Charles DeChant, aka “Mr. Casual”, shined during this song especially. Hall & Oates’ saxophone player of 41 years wore a glittery black jacket and had hair to his hips (hence the name Mr. Causal, totally appropriate), and took over for this one and for a second there, I actually wondered if it was their show or his. 

Being the youngest person in the audience at a concert is one of my favorite things. Older rock artists like Hall & Oates really bring a refreshing crowd. It’s cool to watch the way different generations love music- no one was on their phone the whole time and only a handful of them stood up for the entire show. They weren’t exactly there for a cool snap story or to film the entire set list (felt a little guilty to be on my phone for even a second), they were just there to chill out and really enjoy some music. Plus, there’s something really cool about being at a concert of one of your dad’s favorite bands. 

Hall & Oates exited the stage and I gasped and said “If they don’t come back and play “Private Eyes,” Kiss On My List,” and “Rich Girl,” I’ll rage!” (I’m still scarred from the time I rightly expected John Mayer’s encore to be “Your Body Is A Wonderland” and then the big surprise was that it wasn’t on the set list at all and I was HURT). But after a water break and guitar change, Daryl and John proceeded to walk back on stage for the encore where they, of course, played “Private Eyes,” Kiss On My List,” and “Rich Girl,” and finished the show with one that I had almost forgotten about, “You Make My Dreams.”

After 40+ years of multi-platinums and chart toppers, they put on the show I was hoping for and proved to everyone the very obvious fact: they will always be total rock stars. 

- @Emilee